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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 572815, 7 pages
Research Article

Development of a Recombinant Cell-Based Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay for the Determination of Autoantibodies against Soluble Liver Antigen in Autoimmune Hepatitis

1Institute of Experimental Immunology, Euroimmun AG, Seekamp 31, 23560 Lübeck, Germany
2Institute of Liver Studies, School of Medicine, King’s College London, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK

Received 4 October 2012; Accepted 16 November 2012

Academic Editor: Pietro Invernizzi

Copyright © 2013 Christiane Radzimski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autoantibodies against soluble liver antigen (SLA) are specific markers for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) type 1. In contrast to the determination of other AIH-associated autoantibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), detection of anti-SLA relied up to now on ELISA or immunoblot based on bacterially expressed recombinant protein. In order to develop a complementary IFA substrate, SLA isoform 1 was recombinantly produced in the human cell line HEK293 and controlled by a rabbit hyperimmune serum against SLA. The recombinant cells were used in IFA (RC-IFA) to analyze sera from 20 AIH patients with anti-SLA positivity predetermined by ELISA together with 80 controls (20 anti-SLA negative AIH, 15 primary biliary cirrhosis, 15 HCV, and 30 healthy blood donors). Using RC-IFA, anti-SLA was detected in all ELISA positive AIH sera but in none of the controls. Furthermore, a cytosolic fraction of HEK293 containing SLA was able to neutralize the autoantibodies in all positive sera in a dose-dependent manner. HEK293 cells expressing SLA are a valid substrate for the serodiagnosis of AIH relevant autoantibodies by IFA. In concert with cryosections of primate liver, rat kidney, rat liver, rat stomach, and HEp-2 cells, they enable the parallel determination of all autoantibodies associated with autoimmune liver diseases.